We love eating chicken, steaks, and bacon. They taste great and are one of the best protein, vitamins & minerals sources in our diet. A couple of centuries ago, meat was a luxury product. But today, meat is available to all classes of people, and some do not even consider a proper meal without meat on their plate.
The consumption of meat is unsustainable at the current consumption level. It has created a never-ending demand for resources. For example, to grow one kilogram of flesh, the cow needs to consume 25 kilograms of grains and drink 15,000 liters of water.
The meat industry produces an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases as all forms of transport combined. The amount of food we feed to livestock is quite significant. We can feed up to 3.5 billion humans if we feed the same amount of food consumed by livestock.
The meat industry has been shown to damage the environment and human health. By promoting the benefits of plant-based diets, we can help tackle climate change and reduce consumption.
The significant cause of deforestation globally is industrial animal farming. Farmers are setting forest fires – like the Amazon rainforest fires you may have heard about in the news – to clear land for cattle ranching. It can lead to the extinction of various species, plants, and animals.
Ever year, we destroy millions of acres of forests to create land for cattle grazing. When farmers cut forests, they usually burn the fallen trees. We need forests to absorb Co2 from the air and release more oxygen.
The meat Industry puts pressure on the water system:
It uses more than two-thirds of all fresh water sources. Due to high water consumption, beef has a high environmental footprint and is the least environmentally friendly food.
Emissions of greenhouses gases:
The increase in meat consumption is responsible for the emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide. The cows raised for dairy farming and meat consumption burp out methane and are responsible for 15% of man made GHG emissions.
Raising livestock often requires a lot of land. The intensive use of grazing can lead to soil degradation. As a result, the soil becomes less fertile and sometimes barren. The loss of topsoil is happening everywhere, increasing the need for sustainable and responsible animal farming practices.
Spread of diseases:
The expansion of animal agriculture is another cause of the global rise in diseases. As deforestation brings wildlife into closer contact with people, deadly viruses pass from animals to humans. There can be the possibility of more pandemics in the near future.
If we don’t change the way we eat, meat and dairy farms will account for 80% of the budgeted greenhouse gas emissions.
First of all, we need to minimize the waste produced. One-third of the food produced for consumption is wasted by household consumers. If we reduce the food waste, we can reduce the environmental impact by up to 20%.
Beef releases more greenhouse gases than any meat. Cows raised for beef production release a lot of methane. If you want to reduce your carbon emissions, switching to a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to help.
If you limit meat consumption to once or twice a week, you can reduce the environmental impacts to stay within the eco-friendly boundaries.
Most experts agree that a vegan diet is better for your health and planet. The simplest way to reduce your environmental impact is to buy less resource-intensive meat other than beef. Even when you do buy meat, choose organic, pastured, and locally raised products whenever possible.
It is clear from the above points that eating meat is bad for the planet and contributes to global warming. Currently, the meat industry is unsustainable because of environmental impacts.
There is an immense amount of pressure on the meat industry in order to meet the growing demand for consumption. These practices have created a domino effect, in which modern food production has a strong negative impact on both animals and humans.
We can reduce the damage to the environment by opting for a more sustainable diet and in doing so, protecting the planet.